Work on Yachts

Welcome to the career of a lifetime!

The commercial yachting industry has grown significantly in recent decades, resulting in increased regulations and a surge in demand for qualified and skilled crew.

For those passionate about the sea, travel, and adventure, a career in yachting offers a uniquely rewarding opportunity.

The yachting industry offers various employment roles, including captains, deckhands, engineers, chefs, stewardesses, sailing instructors, and delivery skippers.

Whether you find yourself on a superyacht in the South of France, a flotilla in the Greek Islands, or a charter yacht in the Caribbean or Australia’s Whitsunday islands, the yachting industry opens up a world of international opportunities that can lead to an exciting and rewarding career.

Scroll down to read more about the various job opportunities in the yachting industry.

What makes a good Yacht Captain?

The captain’s primary duty is to guarantee the safety and contentment of both crew and guests while overseeing the yacht’s management and upkeep.

The skipper must also manage the expectations of the yacht owners and operators, keeping to the schedule and making sure the yacht is always in tip-top, ready-to-sail condition.

The best yacht captains possess a unique blend of sailing prowess, managerial insight, technical know-how, empathy and interpersonal skills.

Oh, and a great sense of humour is beneficial too!

Typically, larger yachts entail greater responsibility; therefore, the skipper will require higher qualifications and more experience, and the role will attract higher pay!

  • Try Yachting

    3 hours
    Experience the magic of sailing on Sydney Harbour on one of our comfortable yachts. This short lesson introduces you to the exciting sport of sailing in a safe and controlled way.
    $199.00
  • Discover Yachting

    1 day
    Spend a fabulous day sailing on Sydney Harbour aboard one of our comfortable yachts. This is an excellent way to gently learn the ropes, meet new friends, and have a whole lot of fun in the great outdoors. Please choose one of our scheduled dates or enquire below to book it as a private event for your group.
    $395.00
Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.

Mark Twain

Which qualifcations are required

The qualifications required by professional yacht crew depend on the yacht’s flag state.

Red Ensign flag states, which include the UK, Crown Dependencies, Guernsey, Jersey, and Overseas Territories like the BVI and Cayman Islands, are famous for yacht registration due to their history and internationally recognised high standards.

Red Ensign registered yachts are governed by the UK’s Maritime Coastguard Authority (MCA). 

The MCA recognises the RYA Yachtmaster certification as the gold standard for captains of commercial yachts up to 24 meters and as a prerequisite qualification for aspiring Superyacht Captains working towards their MCA Master of Yachts 3000 certification.

Similarly, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) mandates the RYA Yachtmaster certification to obtain an AMSA Sailing Master certification, which is required for Australian-registered commercial yachts.

Consequently, a commercially endorsed RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore or Ocean certification is essential for a successful career in yachting.

Enrolling in a Yachtmaster Fast-Track program with Flying Fish is highly recommended as an ideal launchpad to a career in the yachting industry

  • Try Yachting

    3 hours
    Experience the magic of sailing on Sydney Harbour on one of our comfortable yachts. This short lesson introduces you to the exciting sport of sailing in a safe and controlled way.
    $199.00
  • Discover Yachting

    1 day
    Spend a fabulous day sailing on Sydney Harbour aboard one of our comfortable yachts. This is an excellent way to gently learn the ropes, meet new friends, and have a whole lot of fun in the great outdoors. Please choose one of our scheduled dates or enquire below to book it as a private event for your group.
    $395.00
barefoot sailing adventures

Yachting career pathway

Flying Fish in Sydney welcomes approximately one hundred new Yachtmaster students every year. Some embark on a full-time yachting career, while others seek a sea change and a better work-life balance.

The path you choose to navigate through the various opportunities to the top of the mast in the yachting industry will depend on your age, experience, and career aspirations.

A viable career pathway may look like the following: But there are always many ways to Fly a Fish!

Year 1: Enroll in a Yachtmaster Offshore Fast-track course to gain essential qualifications. / Start working as a charter skipper or cruising instructor to gain leadership, seamanship and navigation skills.

Year 2: Continue working as an instructor to refine skills and gain more experience. / Advance to RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certification for unlimited worldwide commercial range as a skipper.

Year 3: Further, consolidate skills and experience skippering larger yachts on longer passages. / Enroll in the RYA Yachtmaster Instructor course to enhance your qualifications and CV.

Year 4 and beyond: Transition to skippering larger yachts and work towards higher certifications like MCA Master of Yachts 3000gt.

Yachting Careers / Yacht Jobs

Superyachts are so-called because they are greater than 24m long and perhaps also because no expense has been spared in equipping them. They are usually owned by high-net-worth individuals who expect impeccable presentation and customer service standards. 

Working aboard a superyacht is often described as a dream job. You can travel to some of the world’s most exotic and remote locations aboard a magnificent luxury yacht equipped with an array of fabulous toys (think Jet skis, powerboats, helicopters, and even submarines!).

Along the way, you’ll meet amazing people from diverse backgrounds, and as if that weren’t enticing enough, you’ll also be rewarded with a generous, tax-free salary. Who wouldn’t want this?

Despite the allure of working on a superyacht and its many perks, it’s essential to acknowledge that this career path also has its challenges. You must expect to spend extended periods away from home. The nature of the job often involves long hours and irregular schedules, especially during peak seasons, which can sometimes lead to a lack of personal time or work-life balance.

There are worldwide job opportunities on superyachts, including roles for captains, deck officers and crew, chefs and stewards/ess, bosuns and engineers.

Deck crew who are dual qualified as jetski, diving, windsurfing, or dinghy sailing instructors are often in demand, as are interior crew who are qualified yoga instructors or massage therapists.

There is also a range of shore-based industry support jobs in management, sales, administration, guest services, etc.

Training and qualifications for working on Superyachts

To help you get the best possible start in the industry, Flying Fish offers industry-specific training courses that give you the essential qualifications to secure your initial role on a superyacht and provide a springboard to this exciting new career.

STCW Basic Safety Training is required by all crew working on a superyacht.

Superyacht interior crew should consider our STCW Superyacht Steward or Stewardess course, which provides you with the minimum qualifications to step on board.

Superyacht deck crew will need an RYA Powerboat Level 2 certificate (for driving tenders), a marine radio operator’s licence, an RYA Day Skipper certificate, and the STCW 95 qualifications.

Superyacht officers, including Captains, Mates, and Officers of the Watch, must start with Yachtmaster Offshore or Yachtmaster Ocean certification. Some then work as deckhands on a superyacht to acquire sea time before studying for command qualifications. Others work as yacht instructors or charter skippers on smaller vessels to build experience and command time before upgrading their certificates. Once you have achieved a Master of Yachts 3000gt, you can apply for the best command jobs in the industry.

Flying Fish offers a variety of options for those seeking their Yachtmaster certification.

Before you start training, prepare a CV/resume with the qualifications you expect to achieve. Apply for yacht crew jobs online and start networking as soon as you begin your course.

How much will you earn on a Superyacht?

Superyacht crew are usually well paid, and their salaries are typically tax-free, with virtually no living expenses to worry about—generally, the bigger the boat, the better the pay. If your boat is doing charter work, the crew can also make large tips on top of their salary.

The salary guidelines below are based on the yachting market as of September 2023. Actual salaries will always vary depending on a candidate’s specific experience, training, certification, additional skills, and a particular yacht’s needs.

The Captain | €80,000 to €180,000 p/a

The Captain takes responsibility for navigation and passage planningThe , leads the crew, manages the boat’s finances and looks after the owner’s family and guests.

First Officer | €54000 to 84,000 p/a

The First Officer assists the Captain as second-in-command.

Chief Engineer | €80,000 to €120,000 p/a

The Chief Engineer ensures that every piece of equipment on board is maintained in an operational state.

Security Officer | €40,000 to 60,000 p/a

The Security Officer designs the yacht’s safety and security plan and defends against threats to life and property.

Chef | €65,000 to €96,000 p/a

The Chef manages and runs the galley and prepares meals for guests and crew.

Cheif Stew | €36,000 to 48,000 p/a

The Chief Stew takes responsibility for housekeeping and guest entertainment and manages the steward/ess team.

Steward/ess | €25,000 to €30,000 p/a

The Interior Crew ensures that guests have an enjoyable time on board, serving meals, looking after guest accommodation, and keeping the interior spotlessly clean.

Deck Crew | €32,000 to 40,000 p/a

Deck Crew assist with all tasks on deck, maintain the gym and swimming pool, drive the yacht’s tenders.

Working as a yachting Instructor can be very fulfilling and is a fantastic way to hone your skills and develop experience as a professional skipper.

As an instructor, your job is to safely guide individuals through the intricacies of cruising and seamanship, both on land and at sea. You are a mentor and educator, imparting essential skills and knowledge to aspiring sailors, from navigating coastal waters to handling cruising yachts confidently and competently.

At Flying Fish, we strongly recommend the RYA Cruising Scheme. To teach within the scheme, you must be a qualified RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and RYA Cruising Instructor.

To be an effective instructor, you will need excellent communication skills, patience, and a passion for teaching. While prior teaching or coaching experience is advantageous, the RYA provides comprehensive training programs for aspiring instructors to develop their instructional abilities and gain the necessary qualifications.

RYA Cruising Instructors’ pay rates can vary depending on location, experience, and the type of instruction provided. A full-time RYA yachting instructor can expect GBP 20,000-30,000 annually in the UK or AUD 55,000 – 80,000 in Australia.

RYA Cruising and Yachtmaster Instructors are always in demand at RYA sailing schools worldwide.

Flotilla holidays involve a group of yachts, usually up to 15, sailing together along predetermined routes, guided by a lead boat with a skipper, mate, engineer, and hostess.

Flotilla staff are expected to ensure their clients have a safe and enjoyable sailing holiday. Most flotilla companies operate fleets of yachts, most commonly in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, on a seasonal basis.

Working on flotillas can be a rewarding experience for individuals with a passion for sailing and hospitality. Qualifications required typically include RYA (Royal Yachting Association) certifications such as Day Skipper or Yachtmaster, along with relevant experience in sailing and customer service.

Rates of pay for crew working on flotillas can vary depending on factors such as the size of the vessel and level of experience, but entry-level positions may start at around €1,500 to €2,500 per month, with opportunities for tips and bonuses based on guest satisfaction.

Flotilla Skipper: Oversees smooth movement and safety of boats and handles preparation, maintenance, and end-of-season tasks. Requires two years experience as a skipper plus RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate and often the RYA Cruising Instructor qualification

Mates: Assist the skipper, needs RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate and RYA Cruising Instructor qualification. Good job for the newly qualified Yachtmaster.

Engineer: Handles boat familiarisation and mechanical issues; requires marine diesel engine knowledge and RYA Day Skipper certification.

Hostess: Manages social aspects, parties, and client welfare; liaises with the base team for travel or domestic issues. Requires RYA Day Skipper certification.

Working as a charter skipper or crew member is another avenue for employment in the global yacht industry. Charter yachts cater to clients seeking personalised and luxurious sailing experiences, often in exotic locations worldwide.

Yacht charter skippers are responsible for ensuring guests’ safe and enjoyable experience aboard chartered yachts. Their duties include navigating the vessel, managing the crew, and overseeing all aspects of the charter, from safety procedures to guest satisfaction. Additionally, they may be required to handle administrative tasks, such as itinerary planning, provisioning, and oversight of yacht maintenance and operational compliance.

Qualifications for charter skippers typically include RYA Yachtmaster Offshore or equivalent certifications, along with extensive experience in seamanship, navigation, safety, and customer service.

Pay rates for charter skippers and crew members can be lucrative, with salaries ranging from €2,000 to €5,000 per month for crew members and higher for experienced skippers, plus potential tips and bonuses.

Depending on the size of the yacht, a charter skipper may work with a mate and a hostess.  You will be expected to work together as a team and provide a high standard of service. At the right time of year, there are plenty of well-paid yacht charter crew jobs in Australia, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean.

Yacht delivery is another niche within the industry that offers opportunities for skilled sailors to transport yachts between locations for owners or charter companies. Delivery crew may be hired to return a racing yacht to its home port after a race like the Sydney to Hobart or the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) or to move a private yacht from Europe to the Caribbean for the winter.

Working as a yacht delivery skipper or crew member requires significant experience, excellent knowledge of navigation, seamanship, and vessel handling, and relevant certifications. 

The qualifications needed to skipper a delivery will depend on where the delivery will take place and the nature of the passage. However, the skipper will owe a duty of care to the crew and to the owner of the yacht and, as such, even for non-commercial passages, as a minimum, it is recommended that the skipper holds the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence and should also have a significant amount of experience on vessels of a similar style and size to that being delivered.

For longer passages and transocean deliveries, the skipper is strongly recommended to hold the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence. The higher your qualifications and experience, the more appealing you will be to a potential delivery company.

Pay rates for yacht delivery crews vary depending on the distance travelled, vessel size, and delivery duration. Experienced skippers earn between €300 and €600 daily plus onboard expenses and travel costs, with crucial crew members earning lower rates. 

Delivery skippers and companies will often require deck crew. This is a great way to get some extra miles and experience. More often than not, you only expect to be reimbursed for your travel costs rather than receiving payment for the delivery.

Not to be confused with sailing schools, sail-training vessels are usually larger vessels that take a variety of trainees to sea, including the young, disabled, and disadvantaged.

The aims are personal development and adventure. The vessels range from 30′ yachts to 180′ square riggers. Short-term, seasonal, and full-time posts are available on sail-training vessels.

The UK has one of the largest sail training fleets in the world and is a great place to hone your sailing skills. In Sydney Harbour, Sydney Tall Ships runs a fabulous heritage fleet of square-rigged vessels.

The crew of these vessels is usually a mix of full-time, temporary, and volunteer staff. Typical staffing would be a skipper, mate, and bosun, although this does vary widely around the fleet, with some vessels carrying cooks and engineers.

Due to the vulnerable nature of some trainees taken to sea, many organisations prefer applicants with prior sail training experience or related experience when applying for senior positions. 

There are paid positions for holders of an RYA Coastal Skipper and above. Coastal Skippers usually sail as mates to the skippers, who must hold an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence or above.

On larger vessels, 20m to 24m, mates may also be required to hold a Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence. Vessels over 24m usually require STCW 95 OOW (Yachts), Chief Mate (Yachts) or Master (Yachts), depending on the position in which you sail onboard.

Set Sail with Flying Fish, pioneers in sailing and Yachtmaster education.

Looking to join a team that offers more than just a job? Look no further than Flying Fish, where we redefine sailing education with our innovative approach and three decades of experience in the UK and Australia.

Our friendly, supportive instructors leave a lasting impact on our students by imparting invaluable skills in seamanship, leadership, and communication. As a result, many of our team members have progressed from junior sailing instructors to professional superyacht captains, round-the-world race captains, and Sydney to Hobart skippers.

We’re currently seeking RYA-certified instructors across a range of disciplines, including yacht cruising, dinghy sailing, windsurfing, and powerboating. We offer various roles to fit your preference, with flexible, part-time arrangements and full-time commitments.

At Flying Fish, we’re more than just an employer. We’re a community that welcomes individuals from all backgrounds. If you possess a sense of responsibility, a passion for the water, an affinity for camaraderie, and the ability to engage with diverse groups, you’ll find a supportive environment here. Join our vibrant team and chart your course toward excellence with us.

If you’re an experienced watersports instructor looking to advance your career, our Professional Yachtmaster/Cruising Instructor Internship is the perfect opportunity for you. This unique program offers theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience that will expand your skillset and open doors to exciting career prospects. Take the leap and see where your career can sail with us.

Join us today and experience the journey of a lifetime at Flying Fish.